News

1. Pieridae to the feds:  We’d like $925 million, please

A slide from a PowerPoint presentation Pieridae made before federal officials in December.

Tim Bousquet reports on Pieridae Energy’s $925-million ask from the feds to get its Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) plant going in Goldboro on the province’s Eastern Shore. Pieridae wants the money in grants, loans, or loan guarantees.

As Bousquet reports, the ask was made last December as part of a lobbying blitz the company made on Parliament Hill.  That blitz was led by Luka Stevanovic, a Senior Consultant at Maple Leaf Strategies (the Examiner reported on that here). As Bousquet writes:

Lobbyist registry records show that on December 10, Stevanovic spoke with Deliah Bernard, the regional assistant, Atlantic and Quebec for Indigenous Services Canada, and with Jordano Nudo, a policy advisor with Indigenous Services Canada, discussing “Aboriginal Affairs, Economic Development, Industry, Energy, Employment and Training.”

On December 17, Stevanovic spoke with Mike Kelloway, the MP for Cape Breton–Canso, the riding in which the proposed LNG plant is located.

Before December, Stevanovic had repeatedly spoken with Sean Fraser, the MP for Central Nova. The Examiner understands that Fraser is spear-heading the Pieridae effort.

Neither Kelloway nor Fraser has responded to requests for comment. Likewise, Pieridae spokesperson James Millar has not responded to a request for comment. If any of them do respond, we will update this article.

Joan Baxter has been reporting on Pieridae’s plans, including in this report from October that said “Pieridae’s Goldboro LNG Limited signed a 20-year agreement with Germany’s Uniper Global Commodities that would purchase five million tonnes a year of LNG from the Goldboro plant.” That deal was amended five times, though, because Pieridae couldn’t meet the agreed delivery date for the LNG.

Apparently, the PowerPoint presentation from December included a claim that the Goldboro plant “can comply with a net zero emission future.”

Click here to read Bousquet’s story. 

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2. COVID-19 update: Zero new cases

Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

A year ago yesterday, Nova Scotia announced its first presumptive case of COVID-19. On the anniversary of that announcement, the province announced zero new cases. As Tim Bousquet reports, there are still 17 known active cases in the province. One person is in the hospital in the ICU.

You can get tested at one of the pop-up sites that have been scheduled for the following locations:

Friday: Dalhousie University Goldberg Building, noon-7:30pm
Saturday: Dalhousie University Goldberg Building, 11am-6pm

Read Bousquet’s complete article here. 

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3. Smith wants more diversity in municipal politics

Coun. Lindell Smith — Photo: Zane Woodford

Aya Al-Hakim with Global Halifax talks with Coun. Lindell Smith about his plans to bring more diversity to municipal politics. Last week, Smith was announced as the chair of the group’s new Standing Committee on Anti-Racism and Equity with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

Smith tells Al-Hakim he’ll look internally at FCM to see if there are the proper policies to look at racism and inequity. And the committee will use an anti-racism lens for its advocacy. As Al-Hakim writes:

This would be done by focusing on the needs of marginalized communities. For example, advocating to have a specific focus on Indigenous housing within federal programs.

Smith said FCM has been able to get “hundreds of million dollars to municipalities, counties and townships across the years,” so an anti-racism lens is needed to make sure money is going into the communities that need it most.

“FCM is in the best position to make federal changes because of the advocacy and the connections they have directly to the federal government,” he said.

Smith says the committee is being built from scratch and he’s looking for members from across the country.

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4. Living donors in N.S. need primary caregiver

If you want to be a living donor in Nova Scotia, you need a primary caregiver. Photo: Unsplash

Carolyn Ray at CBC talks with Bonnie Ste-Croix of Halifax who wants to donate a kidney to her good friend Brenda MacKenzie. But shortly after Ste-Croix started going through the application process with the living donor program in the region, she learned she couldn’t donate her kidney because she no longer has a family doctor. Ray reports:

But more than a year after her offer, Ste-Croix still doesn’t know if she could be a donor. Her application was stopped just a few questions in, when Ste-Croix told the co-ordinator her family doctor had just retired.

“They were like, ‘Oh, we can’t proceed then,’” said Ste-Croix. “I was completely shocked in the moment.”

Ray learns there are 180 people on the transplant list now and another 127 are in the process to be added. The average wait time for a transplant is 2.5 to three years. Having a primary caregiver is one of the requirements of living donors (as is being over the age of 19, in good health, and at a healthy weight). There are 60,000 Nova Scotians registered to find a primary caregiver.

Nova Scotia Health declined an interview with CBC, but said in an email the primary caregiver policy was always in place, but has been updated to include nurse practitioners. Says Nova Scotia Health:

Often the testing during the work up for live donation reveals other health concerns that require further investigation and followup that the primary health-care provider would manage.

MacKenzie, who has to do dialysis four times a week, had four possible donors step forward. Two weren’t a match and the other two didn’t have primary caregivers.

The two women tell Ray they’d like walk-in clinics to take on patients and walk them through the living donor process.

Ste-Croix and MacKenzie want to see a new conversation. They’re wondering if a walk-in clinic could temporarily take on patients just to get them through the screening process. Says MacKenzie:

If she’s not the one, that’s not the point. The point is that will mean a lot more people will be able to go through organ donation. That’s my hope.

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5. What time is it anyway?

Photo: Ocean Ng/Unsplash

I am usually awake before 6 a.m. to work on Morning File. But this morning I didn’t get out of bed until after 7 a.m. It’s three few days after Daylight Saving Time kicked in and some of us are still wondering why we hang on to this policy of changing the clocks twice a year. The springing forward makes us cranky pants.

I do love the extra hour of daylight in the evening, though, and we’ll all adjust to the time change soon enough. I think there should be a Heritage Minute about our complaining about it.

Jonathan MacInnis at CTV Atlantic spoke to a couple of experts on why we still change the clocks. MacInnis reports that Canadians got Daylight Saving Time in WWI and have been changing the clocks ever since. One of the reasons for the springing ahead of clocks is for the farmers. MacInnis spoke with Tim Marsh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, who says cows can tell time (or at least feel it).

Dairy cows, they’re pretty much creatures of habit. They like to get milked the same time every day and there’s a bit of a debate among the dairy producers. They feel there’s a difference.

A few years ago, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver did a piece on Daylight Saving Time and mentioned cows, too.

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Views

A fair view of the future of Dutch Village Road

Dutch Village Road. Photo: Suzanne Rent

I live in Fairview and have been in this area (and Clayton Park) for about the last 20 years. There are a lot of things I like here. It’s close to downtown, Highway 102 (when I want to get out,) the MacKay bridge, and Bayers Lake (which I try to avoid.) It’s pretty quiet for the most part, except for the fireworks. People in Fairview love fireworks! It’s a culturally diverse neighbourhood. This area seemed to be where younger people moved once they got tired of the downtown or wanted more space for less rent (I think that’s especially true for the older parts of Clayton Park). 

This area has a lot of history, too. Dutch Village was the home of the Foreign Protestants who arrived in Halifax in the 1750s. Until the 1950s, most of the residents here were employed by the railroad. The area became a busy suburb in the 1960s/70s (my parents lived in an apartment on Rosedale Avenue when I was born).  

For a long time, Fairview was an affordable family neighbourhood. There’s a good mix of older houses here with smaller apartment buildings, and they’re not cookie cutter houses either. A lot of new people have moved in and did some interesting renos on some of the homes. Most of the homes seem to have decent-size backyards. Some of the families here have lived here for years. But the last several years there have been a lot of changes, especially in the area of Dutch Village Road and Joseph Howe Avenue. I drive through here often.

There are several new apartment buildings in this area. All of this development is under the Plan Dutch Village Road, which you can find here.  

Now, I’m not a fan of all the designs of most of these new buildings, and I wanted to know how packing hundreds of new apartments into the area is affecting the neighborhood. How’s the traffic? And how’s the rent? When I casually look at listings, the rent is far more than what I pay now. Fairview is far less affordable than ever.  

Here’s a look at the buildings here now, plus ones that are under construction. I also included listings to see what the rent is like.  

1) The Boss Plaza (three buildings; one now under construction). On Supreme Court at the Corner of Dutch Village and Titus, owned by United Gulf. 

I read somewhere that the name of this place sounds like the developer let his kids name it, but anyway. This development is on the old Halifax West High School site, which sat vacant for years. I find the third section, which is closest to the road, far too close to the road. The balconies hang right over the sidewalk.

According to this ad, a one-bedroom goes for $1495/month. 

Who’s the boss? The Boss Plaza, apparently. Photo: Suzanne Rent
Who’s the boss? The Boss Plaza, apparently. Photo: Suzanne Rent
The third building in the Boss Plaza. I drive past here often and find this very close to the road. Photo: Suzanne Rent

2) Ville Apartments,  3569 Dutch Village Road.  This building is about two years old. Here’s a two bedroom for $1899 

Ville Apartments on Dutch Village Road. Photo: Suzanne Rent

3) The Edison at 3400 Dutch Village Road is across from the Shoppers Drug Mart. Here’s an ad for a one-bedroom suite for $1200/month. 

The Edison, 3400 Dutch Village Road. Photo: Suzanne Rent

4) At the corner of Joseph Howe and Bayers Road is 34Eleven (the civic address is 3411 Joseph Howe Ave.), which is expected to be done sometime next year.

34Eleven at Joe Howe will be done in 2022. Photo: Suzanne Rent

5) Another new build coming up is at 3514 Joseph Howe Dr., which used to be a commercial space. Zane Woodford reported on council approving the 12-storey development last year.

BANC Investments’ 12-storey proposal for Joseph Howe Drive — Lydon Lynch Architects
BANC Investments’ 12-storey proposal for Joseph Howe Drive — Lydon Lynch Architects

6) St. Lawrence Place was the first development to be built here. A two-bedroom apartment goes for $1900/month. 

St. Lawrence Place. Photo: Google Maps

Tim Bousquet wrote about St. Lawrence Place back in 2015 and how its fence is not very welcoming to the community. (Stephen Archibald took a walk through here then too, noticing all the quirks and details like he does).

Photo: Stephen Archibald

7) There are two buildings now under construction at Dutch Village Road and Rosedale Avenue. The motto on the sign of La Villa West says “Community Starts Here!” It’s funny because it’s directly across from St. Lawrence Place and its not-so-welcoming fence. See? Maybe they can teach their neighbours something.

La Villa West on Dutch Village Road. Photo: Suzanne Rent

7) And here’s the building at the other corner of Dutch Village and Rosedale. It’s owned by Joe Zhouri, but I couldn’t find much more about it. 

Rosedale Avenue. Photo: Suzanne Rent

Like I said before, jamming all these buildings in has to affect traffic. I put out the word to talk with residents and heard from Jan Merchant who shared her concerns with me via email: 

– There are no sidewalks on the west side of the road! I cannot fathom housing dozens, if not hundreds more citizens and not have a place for them to safely walk. And the construction of the new buildings are so close to the road, it’s hard to imagine how a sidewalk could even be installed. 

– It is hard to see traffic when leaving the bottom of Rosedale to turn right or left onto Dutch Village. There are two new buildings that obstruct the view so you have to edge out into traffic to see. Then if the bus needs to turn up Rosedale as you’re waiting to enter Dutch Village, there’s not enough room for the bus to turn up! The entrance to Rosedale is now simply too narrow and if snow is going to be piled on the road as it was this year, it’s going to cause perpetual problems.

– Dutch Village is now a busy thoroughfare for people coming from Main Avenue, Washmill Lake Drive, Clayton Park to either get to Bayers Road or onto Joseph Howe. This is hugely problematic for pedestrians, especially having a child care centre on that road, and being in the area of many schools.

– In the summer,  the line up for Dairy Queen spills onto the road DAILY. It narrows the road and affects the safety of turning left onto Rosedale or right onto Dutch Village from Rosedale

The area is a complete mess in that the development is moving way too fast for the traffic infrastructure. Major work needs to be done!

But improvements are in the works under the Dutch Village Road Enhancements, detailed here.  The work includes sidewalks, improved crosswalks, bike lanes, and streetscaping like benches and trees. All of this is good news. 

I talked with Coun. Kathryn Morse yesterday about all this development here. She says while she doesn’t get calls from constituents about concerns, she did hear concerns about affordability when she was campaigning door to door last year.  She says the goal of the Dutch Village Plan is to make the area a “destination.”

I think there’s been a lot of  pressure on the Fairview area just because it’s so close to the peninsula. It’s so central. It’s an attractive place to live for all kinds of reasons. It’s been under pressure for development for the last number of years. Certainly people are noticing the changes and at the same time they’re also noticing that some of the more affordable places are disappearing and it’s been hard for some long-time residents to remain in the area. 

As for traffic, Morse says Dutch Village has needed improvements for a long time. Right now, there aren’t complete sidewalks on both sides of the road. She says there’s design work underway and she expects improvements to be done within two years.  

It will look different. There will be changes to the way parking happens on that street because right now there’s a lot of nose-in parking and that can be dangerous when people are backing out. From what I understand, the parking will be done in such a way that it’s more horizontal parking, parallel parking. A separated bike lane is also set for that location. We’re hoping that will make the whole area safer.  

I asked her about the concerns about those buildings at Rosedale and Dutch Village that Merchant mentioned that were too close to the existing sidewalk. 

I have been coming down there recently myself to check it out and I did notice the visibility is not great around those buildings. The pedestrians are crossing very quickly in front of cars and you don’t have a lot of visibility around those two buildings. I have no idea why they were built so close to the sidewalk. In some designs it’s considered better practice to have storefronts close to the sidewalk to make for more walkable commercial area. In this case, I think the visibility could be improved. 

Morse says she’d like to have city staff check out those sites with her. 

While there are commercial spaces in the new developments, there are also several more established businesses along Dutch Village Road, some of which have been here for decades. I called several of them and only got in touch with Anne Marie Livingstone, who owns Styles Alive on Dutch Village, which is across from St. Lawrence Place. She’s been in business here since 2009 and owns the building.  

I’m really pleased because it’s bringing up the area. The street was a little run down so this is bringing it up to a whole new level, so we’re happy about it for sure.  

Livingstone says the widening of the streets will help with the traffic. She says she has new clients who live in the nearby buildings. She also happy the value of her property is going up. 

It’ll be interesting to see how all of this shapes up over the next several years. Fixing Dutch Village Road is much needed and will make that stretch safer. But I fear a lot of people may leave, renovicted or driven away by increasing rents. A lot of sections of Fairview are changing rapidly. The whole Washmill Lake Drive area is another story. I don’t think it’ll be better for everyone and the area will lose its neighbourhood feel with all the quirks.

And I still don’t know about the fireworks.

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Noticed

As I was researching Fairview, I came across the website of the Fairview Historical Society, which has several posts about landmarks, people, and other stories from the neighbourhood.

There’s this one about the search for gold in areas near Main Avenue and Rufus Avenue.

According to Devonna Edwards, the society’s archivist, the first search for gold was in the late 1890s on Geizer’s Hill at the top of Main Avenue (Washmill Lake Drive now). The Mail Star talked to an Andrew Taylor, who said he found “tons” of gold-bearing quartz on his property. From Edwards’ blog:

An expert examined his property and stated that it was very valuable property and worth, from resent indications, from five hundred thousand to one million dollars. Mr. Taylor also thought that there was a great quantity of gold on the hills to the west of the Three Mile House (located near the Fairview Overpass on the Bedford Highway). He said he would like to see crushers erected in the vicinity of the Three Mile House where he could supply sufficient quartz to keep it employed for a long time.

There was more digging for gold in the 1930s on Rufus Avenue. No one struck it rich, though. Apparently, there’s an indentation on Rufus Avenue where one of the mines was located.

An indentation left behind from a gold mine on Rufus Avenue in Fairview. Photo: Fairview Historical Society

One of the consequences of these mines was that sinkholes started appearing and one house on Rufus Avenue started sinking into the ground. Here’s a bit about that from Edwards:

Frank Mitchell, who grew up in Fairview, said that there were “cave-ins” in Fairview that resulted from abandoned/filled in gold mines. He said that a family by the name of Warnell lived on Rufus Avenue in a new house built just 20 feet east of the gold mine on Rufus Avenue and Hillcrest Street. The Warnell’s lived there from 1952-1960s. The gold mine at Rufus Avenue and Hillcrest Street had at least two tunnels leading from the original pit, which later filled with water. The tailings were dumped into the hole and the Warnell’s house was built, but Frank assumed that the timbers of the tunnel heading east just rotted and caved in causing the house to sink. Mr. Warnell later told Frank that he cut through heavy timbering when digging a well on the north-east corner of his property, but he never knew why the timber was there. All Frank and his friend Wayne ever found was “fool’s gold”- pyrite – in the tailing piles and a 1917 German (Bavarian) coin.

Edwards also writes more about Geizer’s Hill. I remember when there was nothing there except the TV transmitters. Now, there are several new apartments buildings on what is now Washmill Lake Drive, that connects Main Avenue to Bayers Lake.

Geizer Hill is named after Wilhelm Geizer, who came to the Dutch Village area from Hanover, Germany in 1752. Geizer left Dutch Village for Lunenburg, but came back to Halifax and built a house on the hill that bears his name. Geizer was killed after a strange meeting with an army deserter in the woods, who asked to see Geizer’s gun and then shot him with it. Geizer died from his injuries and the shooter was hanged for the crime. 

Edwards also writes about the history of the TV antenna on Geizer Hill and the old radio transmitter station, which was torn down in 2012. A new apartment building sits there now.

The radio transmitter building on Geizer Hill off Washmill Lake Drive. For years, it was known as the Mystery Building. It was torn down in 2012 as new developments went up along the street. Photo: Fairview Historical Society

There’s another tragic tale of murder on Geizer Hill. In 1930, Five-year-old Goldie Drake went for a walk in the woods with her mother Gertrude, who fainted during the outing. Goldie went missing and her body was found the next day. Her mother confessed to killing her daughter. Writes Edwards of the murder:  

“Yes I did it, I confess, I killed the baby, we owed rent and a lot of bills and my husband was out of work.” “I went into the woods and killed the baby, she had not been annoying me.” “I didn’t want anyone else to have her and I thought I could not look after her myself.” Mrs. Drake had planned to poison herself with creolin after the murder but she never took the poison. She was taken to the county jail and then to the Grace Maternity Hospital where it was necessary for a nurse to remain with her at the hospital both day and night. In view of her physical and mental condition, Magistrate Doty said that it would be necessary to remand her for two months for examination. 

There are some really interesting stories here, most of which are written by Devonna Edwards.

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Government

No meetings this week.

On campus

Dalhousie

Tuesday

A categorical framework for gradientbased learning (Tuesday, 2:30pm) — Geoffrey Cruttwell from Mount Allison University will explain

Many artificial intelligence systems use variants of the gradient descent algorithm to help them “learn”. (For examples of such variants, see https://arxiv.org/abs/1609.04747). In this series of two talks, we’ll see how many of these variants can be unified in a single categorical framework. The categorical tools we will use to build this framework include categories of parameterized maps, categories of lenses, and reverse derivative categories. The first talk will focus on introducing these three categorical structures, while the second talk will put the structures together and show how many of the gradient-based algorithms which are used in practice fit into the resulting framework.

This is joint work with Bruno Gavranovic, Neil Ghani, Paul Wilson, and Fabio Zanasi.

Wednesday

BRIC NS Student Seminar Series Primary Health Care Presentations (Wednesday, 12:30pm) — Shauna Hachey will present “Integrating Oral Health and Primary Healthcare: Exploring Knowledge and Practice;” Emma Cameron will present “Access to postnatal health services and supports: The experiences of resettled Syrian refugee women in Nova Scotia.” Info and registration here.

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Graduate Student Symposium (Wednesday, 3pm) — “Taking a drug only twice a year for treating HIV?” by Trilok Neupane; “A potent suppressor of ferroptosis identified in protecting against cell death by lipid peroxidation” by Laura McGary; “Are inactive ingredients of drug formulation ‘inert’?” by Anupama Ghimire; “Updated model of autophagy leads to new potential cancer treatment” by Jordan Thompson. Contact this email to receive the link.

Saint Mary’s

Tuesday

The Librarian Is In (Tuesday, 3pm) — online workshop to ask any of your library- or research-related questions


In the harbour

07:00: Selfoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Reykjavik, Iceland
07:00: X-press Irazu, container ship, arrives at anchorage from Valencia, Spain
07:00: Asterix, replenishment vessel, moves from Dockyard to Irving Oil
09:00: MSC Rochelle, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Montreal
09:00: CMA CGM J. Adams, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for sea
09:30: Baie St.Paul, bulker, moves from Pier 33 to Gold Bond
11:45: Selfoss sails for Portland
12:00: MOL Maestro, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Dubai
15:00: YM Modesty, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
16:00: MSC Rochelle sails for sea
21:00: Asterix moves back to Dockyard
23:00: YM Modesty sails for New York


Footnotes

According to my Facebook memories, a year ago yesterday I thought I’d spend the lockdown writing something brilliant, but I just ate a bunch of chicken wings instead.

Last night, I ate more chicken wings to celebrate.

Please subscribe, or drop us a donation. Thanks!

Suzanne Rent

Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent

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4 Comments

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  1. The city I grew up in is barely recognizable to me when having to drive on to the peninsula. It’s a shame it is loosing it’s character
    and quaintness. Is that all progress is? Jamming towers into every available spot?

  2. There’s a street design notion that setbacks make a city less pedestrian friendly. This is partly true. However, appropriate setbacks for pedestrian appeal depend on several factors, including building height, building type, building appearance, and the ratio of vehicle space to pedestrian space. Halifax seems to have taken the simple approach of no setbacks anywhere, regardless of sidewalk space, building height, roadway width, and nearby public gathering areas. As a result, we have dark narrow sidewalks wedged between high rises and busy streets, and bizarre buildings like the U-shaped Mary Ann, where some units have almost no windows, and about 1/3 of the units face each other and a small courtyard. https://themaryann.ca/plans/. The city’s ‘no setbacks regardless’ approach maximizes space available to developers, while giving residents buildings that are not attractive or pleasant to live in.

  3. I hope Councilor Smith does better with the Standing Committee than he did with the living wage. Signing 5 yr contracts with waste disposal 3 months before the living wage requirement was enough to ensure I would never vote for a single member of this council again. Including Smith. Taking away a living wage from a minimum wage worker for the next 5 yrs means council has robbed each worker of $95,000. A fucking crime really.

  4. Looking at all the apartment buildings being built in Halifax. Remembering the development of the Pockwock water project in the 80’s. HOPING that there is enough capacity in those lakes to see all these residences through a few dryish summers…..Crown land near these lakes is up for clearcutting. Would Halifax Municipality have an interest in opposing any cutting on Crown lands in the western part of the municipality?